Assam celebrates commitment to child rights with UNICEF Activate Talks

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Nov 20: India joined the world on Wednesday to celebrate World Children’s Day, 30 years since the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Assam too joined the celebrations with a session of UNICEF Activate Talks at the Assam Legislative Assembly (ALA), under the leadership of the Speaker, Hitendra Nath Goswami. The session was hosted by young advocates and attended by Members of the Legislative Assembly including Roselina Tirkey, government partners, civil society, community leaders, and children and young people.

The talks were in the form of testimonies as defenders and champions of child rights that focused on solutions towards tackling issues related to Violence against Children. These were delivered by adolescents and young people, experts and thought-leaders, who had used innovative platforms and solutions to deliver results for the most vulnerable and marginalised children and young people in Assam. The speakers included 21-year-old Young Reporter Fazal Haque from Simina, 22-year-old Panchayat Councillor Akoni Lohar from Khanikar, 17-year-old UNICEF Youth Advocate Nahid Afrin, a mother peer leader Manuwara Begum from Bhumuraguri village, Deputy Commissioner of Sonitpur, Manvendra Pratap Singh (IAS); Advisor to the Government of Odisha, Anubhav Patnaik and State Head (Assam) of Pratham Education Foundation, Saveri Kulshreshth.

“Children and young people’s participation in governance processes at different levels – state, constituency, village – is critical. In the Assembly, we are engaged in lawmaking, oversight, budgeting and representation. At our constituencies, we need to have our ear to the ground and assess whether services promised are reaching the 41 per cent of Assam’s child population. By increasing awareness among children and young people and including them in discussions, we can create child-centric strategies for implementing laws, programmes and schemes, ensuring that every child in Assam has access to their rights,” said Speaker, Hitendra Nath Goswami.

MLA and chairperson of the Committee for the Welfare of Women and Children, ALA, Roselina Tirkey said, “The issue of violence against children is critical, especially in the context of Assam, given the number of inequities that have remained unaddressed for generations. And these are heightened for a large number of children in tribal, riverine areas and other vulnerable communities such as the tea gardens.”

Across India, UNICEF together with state government partners, civil society, community leaders, and especially children and young people participated in this global day of action for children, by the children. A flagship National Summit for Every Child in India was held at the National Parliament that was attended by child parliamentarians and child rights advocates from across the country along with Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu as Chief Guest; Om Birla, Speaker, Lok Sabha; Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communication, Information Technology, Law and Justice and Vandana Chavan, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha and Convener, Parliamentarians’ Group for Children.

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